Counting down to race day

What to wear when exercising with an ostomy Choice of clothing is important when your exercising. The right shoes or shorts that fit you right can be the difference between going that extra mile or leaving the gym early. Read Morten's tips on what to what to wear - and what not to wear - when exercising or training with an ostomy. Read more

What to wear when exercising with an ostomy

Note: Morten is a paid blogger and has been compensated by Coloplast 



Q: What was the hardest lesson you learned about what to wear and what not to wear when training for or racing an Ironman?

A: I have learned a couple of lessons the hard way. For my first Ironman, I decided to wear all white clothing. My ostomy produced a lot of air while I was swimming and I tried to get some of it out through the extra valve that I use. Some of the output ended up on the white clothes and made a pretty noticeable dark spot. Another thing to remember is to wear enough clothes while racing or training in cold or cooler weather. I raced a half Ironman where we ended up biking in heavy rain and low temperatures right before a long decent on the bike. In this case, I could really have used a wind vest.

Q: What will you never wear and why?

A: New and untested clothes for a race are obviously no-go. Besides that, I never use socks on the bike as putting on socks with wet feet takes a lot of time. Doing this also would mean I would need to run through the transition zone and get my socks wet or in my cycling shoes which is both slow and potentially dangerous. I don’t want to risk an accident from sliding on the cleats. I run barefoot in the transition zone, have my shoes clipped into the pedals in advance, and put my feet into the shoes as soon as I clear the transition area and gain some speed on the bike.

 Q: What do you always wear and why?

A: I always run with a cap or visor as it provides shade on my face for a hot run. By wearing this, I can also can pour water over my head without the risk of it  ending up on my` sunglasses or in my shoes. Besides this, I also always wear an elastic mesh band around my waist to keep the bag close to the body.

 Q: Is there something especially important to wear or avoid wearing that is unique to a triathlete with an ostomy as opposed to a triathlete without an ostomy?

A: When I started triathlon racing, I always raced in a two piece suit in order to make it easy to empty the bag. After completing multiple races, I have learned that a one piece suit is actually more comfortable because it fits tight around the ostomy bag. Suits with a front zipper are actually quite easy to get out of, and if the zipper is long enough, the bag can be emptied standing without taking off the suit. In general, I think that I would recommend not wearing white – just in case…

 Q: Are there special items of clothing or accessories for athletes that are specially designed for ostomates? If so, what are they and what are your favorites? Why?

A: I’m not really aware of any ostomate-specific triathlon products. I have managed to find regular pieces of clothing that fit me and my needs. I do use special accessories for my training and racing, but they are not triathlon specific.



Mental preparation- getting ready for race day Regardless if you have an ostomy or not, competing in an Ironman race takes a lot of physical and mental preparation. Feeling confident during a race and training has a lot to do with the time you take with yourself when your not on a bike or in the pool. Morten shares how he prepares mentally for an Ironman. Read more

Mental preparation in Ironman racing

Note: Morten is a paid blogger and has been compensated by Coloplast for his content


Q: Competing in an Ironman takes a lot of mental and physical preparation. Aside from the usual mental preparation, what do you find to be especially important or necessary in terms of mental preparation if you are doing an Ironman with an ostomy?

A: I absolutely think that I go through all the same mental challenges as every other triathlete in the preparation for an Ironman. Besides this, there are some practicalities that I need to address in the process as well. To me, it is essential to have things planned and stick to a plan that I know works related to my ostomy. Over time, I have found ways to best prepare for a race- such as what and when to eat and drink in the days leading up to the race. I also have to think about what ostomy appliances I want to use and which work best for mean. Planning this in advance also means having some extra products on backup for before and after a race. Planning ahead and having all these things under control helps me focus on the mental preparation for the race itself and makes the ostomy secondary.


Q: What helps you feel most confident during training and racing?

A: I’ve used Coloplast products a long time and I’ve put them to the test-, like the recent Ironman Frankfurt in 40-degree Celcius heat (about 104 degrees Fahrenheit). In my first Ironman, I was more nervous about the barrier and paid a lot of attention to it. But now, after finishing 5 Ironman races and participating in other competitions and training sessions, I feel absolutely safe and confident in the security of my ostomy barrier and know what precautions I need to take to avoid any issues along the way.


Q: Do you have any special motivational or inspirational sayings or references that help you through the tough times? What are they? Under what circumstances are you most likely to call on them for encouragement?

A: Well, most of the time I don’t feel the need to motivate myself to do my training. But, of course there are times when the motivation is running low, e.g. in rain or cold weather. My coach has a saying that in English, translates into something like “How far would you go to be better?” which means that you must put in your time and train in order to achieve results. On the last part of the run in an Ironman, when things start to be really hard and I feel myself starting to get tired, I tell myself that “You can always run 10k’s”. The harder I train, and the harder the race, the greater the reward is once I cross the finish line. 


Exercise and training with an ostomy

swimming with an osotmy Exercising and training with an ostomy Life with an ostomy doesn’t mean a life without exercise. Our blogger, ostomate and Ironman, Morten Sommer, shares tips for exercising and training with ostomy. Read more

Exercising with an ostomy: Q&A

Exercising with an ostomy

Note: Check with your doctor or your Wound, Ostomy, Continence (WOC) Nurse before you start or increase your exercise activities.  What is good for one person may may be too much for someone else. 


This is a paid blog post sponsored by Coloplast

Q: How do you keep the pouch securely attached even when you sweat a lot? How about when you swim?

I always use an elastic mesh band to keep the bag tight to the body. I use this 24/7 and it comes in handy especially when I am running, as it keeps the bag in place. To manage the sweat, I make sure to change the ostomy barrier often. When training or racing in hot conditions, I always use Coloplast Brava® Elastic Barrier Strips for protection to give that extra layer of security and ensures my barrier stays put.

When I swim in the pool, I use a pair of regular swimming trunks and a neoprene belt to keep the bag tight to my body and to avoid water pressure on the bag as well as to minimize the drag.

Q: Do you carry any emergency ostomy supplies with you when you are exercising? If so, how do you manage to do so conveniently and discreetly? What do you take with you? How and where do you carry it?

In daily training, no! I used to do so on bike rides in the first years after my surgery, but now I am so confident in SenSura® Mio and Brava Accessories, that I do not find it necessary. Back then, I carried an emergency kit in a small plastic bag with a spare barrier, bag, cleaning cloths etc. This would fit in the back pocket on my bike jersey. Today I usually just have a kit in my bag when going to the gym or swimming. The only place I now always keep backup kits is in triathlon races, where I have a spare kit in each transition zone, but I do not carry one with me on the course.

Q: Are some sports and movements more difficult with an ostomy than others? Which ones are the hardest and which are the easiest and why?

A: I have never thought that my ostomy limits my ability to run, swim, or bike- or make any of my body movements more difficult for that matter! I can do all the strength exercises that I want. The only exception would be what I do when I swim.  I wear this extra neoprene belt to keep the bag secure-as mentioned before. I have played soccer and hockey a couple of times and it was not an issue. I can’t speak for somebody who competes on a regular basis in these sports though

Q: Does the exercise affect your digestion rate? If so, how? Do you need to prepare or plan in any special way for that?

Yes, definitely. Running can especially speed up my digestive system; but cycling does not affect it in the same way. When I swim, my digestion is affected if I swallow too much water that can cause gas. To help manage my digestion, I always pay attention to what and when I eat prior to a training session because I want to empty a full bag right before I start to avoid having to stop and empty a full bag during my training.

Q: What’s your “#1” most motivational song to train/work out to?

 A: Absolutely simple answer: A remix of the classic millennium hit Toca’s Miracle called “Toca's Beautiful Strawberry Fields (Master Class Alliance)”. This tune is the sound of summer and has a nice steady rhythm useable for both spinning/trainer and running.


Out of the bag with Stephanie Hughes

Stephanie Hughes, author of the blog Stolen Colon, was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease when she was 13 years old. As a guest blogger for Coloplast, Stephanie gives her take on living life with an ostomy- everything from exercise, daily life, and even becoming a new mom. 

Ostomy bag options Ostomy bag options From one piece to two piece, click to flex, there are many ostomy bag solutions available. Stephanie gives her review of the differences between the different ostomy bags and the features and benefits that may benefit you. Read review

Different ostomy bag options- what's the difference?

The following post was written by Coloplast blogger Stephanie Hughes. Stephanie was compensated and given free product samples 

I am very excited to have the opportunity to partner with Coloplast in looking at some of the options available for those of us living with an ostomy. These days, we have a wide selection of ostomy pouches available than in years past. It’s awesome that there are so many new products available! But it also means there are a lot of choices, and especially for new ostomates, it can be a little overwhelming. So, I wanted to look specifically at the differences between a one and a two-piece ostomy bag systems and why someone might decide to choose one option over the other. Here’s a quick breakdown:


One-piece ostomy bag: The one-piece system includes the bag and wafer already connected. It is a great option because it is simple and all-inclusive, so you don’t have to account for more than one piece. It sits close to the body and is easy to conceal under clothing because of its low profile. The only things to consider are if you select a cut-to-fit barrier, you do have to pay extra attention so that you don’t cut the bag. These are also a little more difficult to line up around the stoma, since you are unable to see exactly where you are placing it. However, the SenSura® Mio now has a transparent piece you can look through to help you better line up the wafer! (Sample used: SenSura® Mio 1 piece)

Two-piece ostomy bag: I am going to look at two options for two-piece bags. The first is the two-piece click. It consists of a wafer with a ring on it that snaps into place with a ring on the bag. It comes with an extra lock to make sure it is secure. They are easy to place, since the wafer is separate from the bag. You also have the option of taking the bag off of the wafer, even after the wafer has been placed. You can change out the bag without removing the wafer, which is especially useful for those who like using a smaller, closed-ended bag that does not have the option of being emptied. You can twist the bag around the ring, which makes it easy to change the direction of the opening. Something to be aware of if considering the two-piece click is that the ring is a bit rigid. For those who are very active or prefer to sleep on their stomach, it could be uncomfortable.  It also does stick slightly farther off the belly and some people may find it a little more difficult to conceal under clothing. (Sample used: SenSura® Mio Click)


The final option is the two-piece flex, which is exclusively available from Coloplast. This one includes a separate wafer and bag that sticks together through an adhesive on the bag. Like the two-piece click, it is easy to place, as you can line it up with your stoma before adhering to the bag. The wafer is very flexible, which is great for active ostomates. It is also very easy to hide under clothing, since it lays flat against the stomach. It also has the option to remove the bag, while leaving the wafer in place, however, it does not have the same option to change the direction of the bag as the click system does. I have heard concerns from others wondering if the seal is secure enough that output will not leak through. This is the system that I personally use, and from my experience, this is not something I have had any issue with. The seal is very secure and will only pull apart if you are intentionally doing so. (Sample used: SenSura® Mio Flex)


So as you can see, there are a lot of great options. My best recommendation is to give all of them a try! You can get free samples of each and figure out what works best for you. (In fact, you can order some right here.) We all have different bodies, different ostomies and different things that we prefer, so know that what works for one person may not work the same for you. That’s why it’s great to be able to give all options a try.


Click here to order your free SenSura Mio samples

More about Stephanie More about Stephanie At the age of 13, Stephanie Hughes was diagnosed with Crohn's disease. Several years later, she underwent surgery and received a permanent ostomy. Writer, blogger, and triathlete, Stephanie blogs about how ostomy surgery has helped her rediscover-and discover- new passions. Read more

Headline text

"My name is Stephanie Hughes and I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease in 1999, when I was 13 years old.

After years of dealing with painful and embarrassing symptoms, on May 7, 2012, I had my colon removed and was given a permanent ostomy.

The decision to go through with this surgery was a difficult one for me. For as long as I can remember, my mantra was “anything but surgery.” But after 5 hospitalizations between October 2011 and April 2012, I began to realize that while surgery was not something I WANTED to do, continuing on the path I was on was something I COULDN’T do..."


Read Stephanie's full blog post and more at


A day at Ironman training camp

This September, Morten will be competing in the Chattanooga Ironman in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Check back here for tips and learn how Morten prepares for triathlon racing with an ostomy.

A day at Ironman training camp

A day at Ironman training camp

Ostomate and Ironman, Morten Sommer, gives an inside look at a day at training camp. Watch his video and read about how he trains for his upcoming Ironman- from tips for training with an ostomy to how to eat before and after workouts.

Watch video and read his tips

A day at Ironman training camp

How to eat and fuel your body for training with an ostomy

Q: Are there things that you would normally want to eat as part of your training for the Ironman that you find you must avoid when you have an ileostomy? What are they and why do you have to avoid them?

A: Well, I first started training for my triathlon after my surgery, so it is a bit difficult to compare. But, compared to when I did bicycle races prior to my surgery, there is not really a big difference in what I eat. The most important thing now is timing when I eat my meals because of how it affects my system.


Q: What are some differences you noticed in your diet (regarding how to fuel your body) pre-ostomy vs. post ostomy?

I feel like I have to be pay attention to the foods I’m eating so I make sure I get all important minerals in order to keep my body hydrated Before my ostomy surgery, this wasn’t something I paid attention to. Now I definitely focus more on what I eat and drink, before, during and after exercise- and in general for that matter.


Q: How often do you eat during the day during training? How do you time your meals/snacks and what is important to the timing?

Personally, I think it is essential not to eat a bigger meal just before a training session. For an early morning swim, I eat an apple about half an hour before and drink a bit of water. Before I run-no matter what time of day it is-my  main meal must be eaten at least two and rather three hours prior to the run. If I am biking, it is not that critical. I can eat a meal about an hour before training. Of course, I always make a trip to the bathroom before starting my training session because training with an empty bag is more comfortable. In general, I try to stick to fluids during my training sessions. This includes gels and energy drinks. On long bike rides, I sometimes need something to eat. Here I stick to energy bars or bananas-which works well for me and doesn’t create a lot of output.


Q: Is there a particular nutrient or nutrients that you need more of during training? What foods do you eat to get those nutrients?

I pay a lot of attention to get the right amount of energy products and minerals. Hydrating and rehydrating is very important- before, during and after training. Getting protein and minerals are important after a training session. I find it important to find an energy product brand where one like the taste of the products as your going to use a lot in training for an ironman Personally, I think it’s important to find an energy product that you like because you use that a lot in ironman training


Q: What food lesson did you learn the hard way during training?

I have tried training on an ostomy where the output was watery due to what I’ve eaten the day before. This is obviously not fun-nor smart- as dehydration can easily be an issue for people with ostomies. I have had to cancel a session or two due to the same issues. So, one important lesson is not to experiment with foods that are hard to digest  the day before a long or important training session-or race for that matter.


Q: What advice would you give another ostomate looking to do his or her first triathlon or endurance race?

A: Just go for it! But be sure to know how you will handle a ’situation’ in a race and have a spare kit with you or in the transition zone. Also, make sure you have tested how you react on the specific brand of energy products supplied in the race or preferably bring as much as possible of your own products.

Always use a relatively fresh ostomy application. One that needs to be changed can get loose during a run session. Luckily, I have never had any serious situations in like this. The closest  thing I have experienced is  ballooning while swimming.


Try free samples of SenSura Mio- a discreet and reliable ostomy solution


Note: consult your doctor before starting any rigorous exercise program


Meet Morten Sommer

About Morten Sommer About Morten Sommer Get to know our Ironman, Morten Sommer. Read his story and why he sees an Ironman Race as the ultimate challenge. Read more

An ostomy bag is not the end

Morten Sommer is a 34 year old IT Project Manager from Copenhagen, Denmark.


The beginning of Morten's passion for cycling began in 1996 when he bought his first racing bike. For several years, Morten belonged to a competitive Cycling Club and participated in several national racing championship races. 


In 2000, Morten's life changed when he was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis. For eight years, he tried to manage his symptoms and condition with medications, but in 2008 Morten underwent ostomy surgery.


After a short break from cycling and racing, Morten got back on his bike and went on to compete in multiple triathlons nationwide. In 2013, Morten completed an Ironman race in under 13 hours.


"I see Ironman (races) as the ultimate challenge because of my previous illness. I want everyone to know that a bag is not the end".


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